Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cold Blood

Previously, in Hungry Earth, The Doctor challenged people to be the best they could be. Now, he is depending on it, as he himself enters the underground world of the Silurians - Earth's previous inhabitants.

Just as The Doctor thinks he may have brokered a peace between humanity and the Silurian race, it turns out that Ambrose has killed one of the Silurians. This undermines the trust that had developed, and provokes an attack. The Doctor and friends are fortunate to escape.

The Doctor can be critical of human actions, but at the same time is a great advocate for the human race. When finding out about the murder, he exclaims that "you are so much less that the best of humanity". Yet in the same conversation he pleads with the Silurians on behalf of humanity. "You have to believe me - they're better than this." A powerful reminder of the God's high standards yet unlimited capacity for forgiveness.

Meanwhile, safely back on the surface, Ambrose and The Doctor have this conversation:

AMBROSE: You could have let those things shoot me. You saved me.
DOCTOR: 'An eye for an eye' was never the way. Now you show your son how wrong you were - how there's another way. You make him the best of humanity - in the way you couldn't be.

This is classic Jesus 101. Ambrose has done something terrible, and The Doctor's response is to forgive her - to save her. He offers her another chance - the opportunity to change her ways and become a better person, and an inspiration to others.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hungry Earth

As the Silurians are approaching, the Doctor's plan involves local boy Elliot drawing a map of the immediate area.

DOCTOR: I need a map of the village, marking where the cameras are going.
ELLIOT: I can't do the words - I'm dyslexic.
DOCTOR: That's alright - I can't make a decent meringue. Draw like your life depends on it Elliot!

This attitude of seeing the value of people (while others may not) strongly reminded me of Jesus.

Whether he was speaking to a woman at a well, a tax collector, or other various social outcasts - Jesus valued them for who they were - and who they could be

In fact, even the people he hand-picked to be disciples were not the proud people who considered themselves the pinnacle of society. Instead it was completely the opposite - the people who were far from what the world considered ideal - but who were humble people committed to following Jesus, and being all that they could be.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Amy's Choice

The Doctor arrives in Amy and Rory's future - 5 years from the present day. Rory and Amy have settled in the village and Amy is heavily pregnant with their first child.

Simultaneously, Rory, Amy and the Doctor fall asleep, only to immeditaely wake up in the Tardis. They figure the village was a dream, until they fall asleep again to awake in the village. Tardis, village, Tardis, village ... and so on.

A character calling himself the Dreamlord, explains that one world is real and the other fake. With deadly dangers in each world, "if you die in the dream, you wake up in reality." But of course, death in reality means precisely that.

So the Doctor, Amy and Rory are faced with a decision to make. Which world do they think is fake? Which existence are they willing to lose? Which world do they want to be their reality?

There's a similar decision when following Jesus:
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

We can choose to pursue the things of this life - power, material stuff, gratification, prestige, self-interest, etc. Or we can choose a reality based on love, integrity, compassion and something greater than ourselves. It's not just Amy's choice - it's our choice.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Vampires of Venice

The Doctor treats Amy and her fiance Rory to a trip to Venice (in the year 1580). There they discover a group of female vampires - who are taking in young women, who are then never seen again. In order to investigate further, Amy goes 'undercover' as one of the girls taken into the school.

The 'mother' of the vampires (who turn out to be aliens from Saturnyne) explains the process of what they do to the young women.

This is how it works.
First we drink your blood till you're dry
then we fill you with our blood
It rages through you like a fire, changing you,
until one morning you awake and your humanity is a dream now faded

It's a gradual process that happens almost without being noticed. One of the girls, Isabella has been treated this way for a while now. While she is not yet fully transformed, she is not exactly her former self either - and she has little memory of what has caused this change.

For me, the ongoing battle between the good and not-so-good elements of life can be similar. Despite trying to be the best person i can be, there do seem to be other forces at play. Feelings of selfishness, resentment and other undesirable stuff. They sometimes do rage, and cause changes that erode away some humanity.

Fortunately, Amy managed to escape before any lasting damage could be done. I wish the same could be said for me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flesh and Stone

Continuing on from the Time of Angels, the Doctor, Amy, River and her crew are escaping from the angels, and discover that the angels have managed to get inside the mind of Amy. In time, this would mean Amy's demise - and when the Doctor asks what their purpose is, he gets the reply "for fun".

I've never seen the (ironically named) angels so representative of evil - or the devil if you will. Their intent is nothing but harm, they sneak up on you when you're not paying attention, and their motive is evil purely for evil's sake.

Meanwhile, in the Forest on the Byzantium, Amy becomes particularly ill, and the remedy involves her closing her eyes. The Doctor and River must move on (to enable the escape) leaving Amy guarded by several troops. This is a huge moment for Amy, as the Doctor asks for her trust. Though she cannot see, does not know what is yet to come, and faces a difficult situation, she is still able to place her trust in the Doctor.

However, after the demise of these troops, Amy searches for the Doctor. Blind, alone, and vulnerable to attack - her only assistance is the communicator she earlier received. Through it, the Doctor sends a signal which indicates his position, such that she can move in his direction. The Doctor also sends some software through to the communicator, such that it beeps in the proximity of an angel - warning Amy of any impending danger.

The communicator is a bit like prayer - maybe the holy spirit, or even the bible - as it guides us as we decide on our direction, and warns of things that are (in the Doctor's words) "extremely very not good".

As Amy continues her walk, she stumbles and falls. Ordinarily this would mean disaster, but she is saved and teleported into the presence of the Doctor. She is healed of her illness by the Doctor as he defeats the evil angels - thereby removing them from Amy.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Time Of Angels

The weeping angels are aliens with the ultimate defence system. In the sight of any living creature the angels literally cease to exist. They turn to stone. But once they can't be seen, they are deadly.

After the ship containing an angel crashed on the planet of the extinct Aplans, the angel is on the loose. The Doctor, Amy and River Song (and others) are chasing down the angel to neutralise it. To do so they navigate through an underground labyrinth of statues built by the Aplan civilisation.

RIVER: Doctor, there's something - i don't know what it is...
DOCTOR: Yeah, there's something wrong. Don't know what it is yet either. Working on it.
Then the Doctor and River realise what it is...
AMY: what's wrong?
DOCTOR: Exactly.
RIVER: How could we not notice that!?
DOCTOR: Low-level perception filter. Or maybe we're thick!

The perception filter (one of my favourite Doctor Who concepts) disguises unusual objects such that they appear to be ordinary. The objects are still there - but the filter prevents them from being fully recognised.

It kind of exists in our life too. The things we see - maybe a hundred times, but don't really notice. And it existed in Jesus' time...
When they see what I do,
they will learn nothing.
When they hear what I say,
they will not understand.

And so he encouraged his disciples to be perceptive...
Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given — and you will receive even more.

Our perception filters may take the form of past hurts, hardened hearts, fears about the answers to the questions we'd rather not ask ourselves, or just the shallow superficial existence that sometimes lures us away from living a more fulfilled life.

Let's try to break the perception filters and receive even more. It may even keep us safe from weeping angels.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Victory To The Daleks

This adventure is very much about identity. The Doctor is summoned to the aid of Winston Churchill as he fights the second world war, and immediately recognises Churchill's new war machines. They are in fact the Daleks!

However, their potency lies dorment. It is only through the Doctor that they realise their full potential (albeit a destructive potential in the case of the Daleks).

Later, Professor Bracewell discovers that he is part human, part robot. To make matters worse, the Daleks have programmed the robotic section of his body to act as an explosive device. To save the day, it is up to Bracewell to decide his identity. With the support of the Doctor and Amy he chooses life, and goes on to live it to the full.

Similarly, it was only through Jesus that Levi (a much-hated tax collector) became Matthew the disciple, and that Saul had his road-to-damascus experience and changed to Paul. In the words of Jesus "I have come such that everyone may have life, and have it in all its fullness".

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Beast Below

We're around 1300 years in the future. With Earth now uninhabitable, the people of Britain travel through space courtesy of 'Starship UK' - which the Doctor and Amy discover is powered through the torture of a giant alien Starwhale - the last of its kind.

What to do? Do they allow the torture to continue, possibly for centuries, for the benefit of the people - or do they set the creature free at the cost of the lives of the people.

Spoiler alert! The creature is set free, but everyone lives - and the ship travels even faster than before because the Starwhale's purpose is to help people, and works better when not attacked. (Similar to the tendency for society to inflict pain on the environment rather than co-operate with it for the benefit of all ... but that's another story)

Jesus is recorded as saying:
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
and also
What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

This second quote is key to the Doctor's anguish as he was repulsed by the idea of saving one race at the deliberate expense of another.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Describing The Doctor - Verity Lambert

If my Doctor Who nerdiness was ever in question, the next sentence should settle that...

I was watching the DVD of the original 1963 Doctor Who episode An Unearthly Child, and the director's commentary on the unaired 'pilot' episode has Verity Lambert (producer: 1963-65) detailing the character of the Doctor.
Doctor Who, as he was invisaged initially, was somebody who was capable of being quite dangerous and very unpredictable. At the same time he could be very supportive and avunculuar and kind. That was what was interesting about the character - that he had all these different sides to him - and also rather childlike in certain respects. And completely and utterly anti-authoritarian - that was the crucial bit about him.

In response, Gary Russell remarked
He had a kind of rebelliousness in him... He could be anything. He could be gentle. He could be nice. He could also be very angry and dangerous - and that's what made him fascinating.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

Two major things happening in this episode.

The first is Amelia Pond meeting the Doctor. Intriguingly, he arrives at the instant she is praying for help. Being a child, she doesn't fully understand who the Doctor is, but she knows that he is good - and hopes to encounter him again.

Years later (now referring to herself as Amy) she does meet the Doctor again. Now an adult, she is capable of more fully understanding the Doctor, the Tardis and all that involves ... well, at least as capable as any human being can be.

The other big thing is Prisoner Zero. Even the name suggests the epitomy of evil. Not prisoner 35784, or even prisoner 5. This thing has been evil for as long as there has been evil.And though usually unseen, it can disguise itself in the form of earthly things.

And here's where it gets even more Jesusy. Through the brilliance of the Doctor, and the efforts of mere mortals in "spreading the word", the world is saved from the incineration Prisoner Zero would have caused.

Back to Amy. In awe of the Doctor, she abandons her home, her job, and her earthly life in order to follow the Doctor on a far more interesting adventure.

Like many of the Doctor's companions, Amy leaves everything immediately. No concern for telling anyone where she has gone. Even the small matter of a wedding in the morning (her own wedding!) doesn't stop her from instantly taking off on an adventure. Following the Doctor through time and space.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Personal Jesus

I'll be posting commentaries soon, but in the meantime here is some Doctor Who footage to a cover of "You Own Personal Jesus".